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Reversing the brain drain? Photo: David Goehring has been growing like a weed over the past year, hiring hundreds of engineers and developers at its new headquarters in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood and expanding its footprint in the city. But Amazon, like many other technology giants, is now looking elsewhere for top talent.

The Boston Globe reports that the giant online retailer plans to establish a new outpost in Cambridge’s Kendall Square area early next year, with a goal of securing about 40,000 square feet of office space. That’s enough room for about 100 to 150 employees.

The news could be a big shot in the arm for Boston, which is still smarting over the loss of Facebook to Silicon Valley seven years ago.

A number of Silicon Valley tech titans have established offices in Seattle over the past 18 months, from Facebook to to Jawbone to Zynga. The arrival of those companies — primarily established to poach smart engineers — has changed the dynamic of the Seattle tech community.

Boston. Photo montage via Wikipedia

Amazon’s employment growth over the past year has been absolutely insane. The company now employs more than 50,000 people, hiring a whopping 8,000 workers last quarter alone.

Of course, many of those workers are employed in distribution centers. (Just this week, Amazon said it would invest $270 million in Virginia and Tennessee to open new distribution centers that could employ 2,650 people).

The jobs in Boston are more technical, and highly coveted. The Boston Globe points to a jobs page on Amazon which shows openings for four research scientists where — among other things — they’d provide “business analysis using mathematical modeling to answer important questions.”

The Globe notes that has had a history of buying Boston area tech companies, and then shipping the talent to Seattle. Now, with a new outpost in Boston, the company can try to keep some of those minds on the East Coast or recruit from the many nearby educational institutions.

Amazon already has large technical operations in California where much of the development for the company’s Kindle electronic devices is done.

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